Chayce Beckham on How His New Single ‘Everything I Need’ Puts a Sunny Spin on Modern Life’s Complications

Life in the 21st century is complex.

In addition to all the old stuff – keeping gas in the tank and air in the tires, picking up the kids on time, stressing out over an unreasonable boss – the digital age has piled on more issues: endless passcodes, inconvenient Windows updates, social media trolls and dead phone batteries. If that’s not enough, we’re told democracy is under siege.

The good news is a little attitude adjustment can reduce the stress, at least for three minutes, and Chayce Beckham aims to provide that relief. “Everything I Need” – the follow-up to “23,” which hit No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart dated April 6 – arrives with a brisk tempo, a bright production and a lyrical reminder to focus on the few things that really matter.

“You don’t need all these bells and whistles and fancy stuff,” Beckham says. “Just being alive on a sunny day is worth a million bucks.”

Appropriate to that sentiment, Beckham didn’t write “Everything I Need” in a typical Music Row office appointment. The song came into existence on the road during Luke Bryan’s 2023 Farm Tour, where concert sites are constructed on rural land. It launched on Sept. 14 outside of Shelbyville, Ky., midway between Louisville and Lexington. Beckham brought along a pair of songwriters, John Pierce (“Sweet Annie,” “Your Heart Or Mine”) and Lindsay Rimes (“World On Fire,” “Cool Again”), for what proved to be a productive run. They knocked out the outlaw-flecked “Devil I’ve Been,” and started in on another as they puffed on cigars on that first day.

“It’s really great as a writer to watch an audience, watch the artist you’re working with,” Pierce says of writing on tour. “You can see what is kind of needed in a set. You can find the hole and fill it.”

They talked specifically about crafting something upbeat and encouraging – presumably to fill a need – and Rimes kicked into an easy progression on guitar. He attached a rolling train beat to it, and they headed forward without an actual title, focused on the glass-half-full version of daily life.

It wasn’t hard to fit it to Beckham’s personal experience. The weeds on the lawn, credit-card debt and a broken-down motor – the latter spotted by Pierce on a previous co-write at Beckham’s house – all used real-world issues to set up the story. “John was on fire,” Rimes recalls. “He was spitballing lyrics, you know, the broken radiator and all this. We just started laundry-listing things really.”

Pierce concocted a phrase – “postcard maker” – to describe a sunny day at the end of the first verse, segueing into the chorus, where the tune brightened and the storyline turned fully away from problems to very basic positives: “I’m alive and I’m breathing.”

“We knew the melody should shift up a little bit, just have a lot more power in the chorus,” Beckham says. “We’re just back there jamming on an acoustic guitar and kind of just chipping away at this thing.”

The chorus’ plot morphed into an all-nighter, with the protagonist having fully adjusted his attitude amid classic – and easily missed – wordplay: “When the sun comes up, I’ll let it dawn on me/ I’ve got everything I need.”

Even if the “dawn” quip doesn’t completely register with the listener, the hook’s premise lands with clarity. “The line in front of the hook,” says Pierce, “is the most important line of almost any song.”

The three writers made verse two only half the length as the opening verse, noting that the bad times – like the verse itself – “won’t stick around too long.” Instead, the verse sped back into the chorus, following a Nashville songwriter code. “It’s such a sing-along thing, and it was like, ‘Don’t bore us, get to the chorus’ for sure on that one,” Pierce recites. “It’s not [shorter] because we were lazy, I swear.”

A bridge wasn’t required, since that chorus pretty much said it all anyway. “It’s got everything it needs,” Beckham says. “You don’t need to do anything extra with it.”

Rimes loaded some guitar parts over the drumbeat on the tour bus to form the bones of a demo that they played for Beckham’s band the next day. He would add bass and a couple other instruments after getting back to Nashville, but not a lot. “I kept it pretty simple,” Rimes says. “I didn’t really put any bells and whistles on. It was very country.”

When producer Bart Butler (Jon Pardi, Warren Zeiders) heard “Everything I Need,” he identified it as a sleeper, but he didn’t have much time to work on it. Wheelhouse greenlit a full album, but it came under a tight deadline. When Butler was selected, he had to pull together a studio band in a short week. Some of the musicians he worked with regularly rearranged other gigs to work on a master session, but when his usual cadre of acoustic guitarists were all booked, he asked electric guitarist Rob McNelley for a recommendation. Multi-instrumentalist Gideon Klein became a key piece of the team when they recorded at the Starstruck Studios.

The studio ensemble recreated the basics of Rimes’ demo – “It was such a great, great roadmap,” Butler says. “It sounded like a record.” But he also thought it needed a signature instrumental lick. McNelley and Klein worked together to create a perky uplifting sound, delivered on electric in the opening and on banjo later in the track. Steel guitarist Russ Pahl weaved playful wrappings around that sig lick, and fiddler Jenee Fleenor enhanced it further in overdubs.

On the tracking date’s last run-through, Butler encouraged the band to take off on a closing vamp, which tacked an additional 35 seconds onto “Everything I Need” before it faded.

Beckham did vocal overdubs for the Bad for Me album in the center of Ronnie Milsap’s former studio, now known as Ronnie’s Place, while battling physical challenges. “I got bronchitis or some horrible cold and never-ending, deep congestion and a cough that lasted for weeks,” he says.

On at least one date, he struggled so badly that Butler sent him home, but Beckham was determined to work through it on the days his voice was available. “This is my debut record,” he says. “I have to sing the shit out of it.”

When they turned the album in, Wheelhouse had some issues with the volume of sound on “Everything,” which countered its message of simplicity. Butler readdressed the mix, but never let go of the energy. “There was more there on that track,” he allows. “It’s still busy, but it was way busier.”

Ultimately, the sleeper became a single when Wheelhouse released “Everything I Need” to country radio via PlayMPE on April 12. Predictably, numerous stations asked for an edit over the next two weeks that would snip the instrumental vamp off the end. Butler wasn’t surprised by the request, even if he hated to drop that section.

“I get it,” he says. “It’s all about getting it to three minutes and having radio time for everybody else.” The end version also provides three minutes of relief for listeners who may not have the time to address all the loose ends in their complicated lives.           

“’Everything I Need’ is a great way to segue into the summer,” Beckham says, “and for everybody to take a break mentally and listen to something that makes them feel good.”

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